New Tablo User - Not Impressed

I ordered a 4-Tuner Tablo ($299.99) and a Western Digital Elements 1Tb hard drive ($73.94) from Amazon. I unboxed and installed it today (8/18/2015). I have been using Microsoft’s Windows Media Center (WMC) for many years along with two Silicondust HDHomeRun tuners. Each HDHomeRun has 2 tuners which gave me a total of 4. I bought a 4-Tuner Tablo based on reviews and because it looked like a good replacement for WMC. Right now Microsoft is offering to upgrade Windows 7 SP1 and 8.1 PC’s to Windows 10 for free. The catch is WMC is no longer available in Windows 10. I have 3 laptops and 3 desktops. All 3 of my laptops (1 W7 and 2 W8.1) have been upgraded to Windows 10. Although, only my Windows 7 desktop has been upgraded. The other 2 desktops run Windows 8.1 and utilize WMC. I have been holding off on upgrading them until I found an alternative for WMC. I was hoping Tablo was the answer but I’m already considering boxing it back up and returning it to Amazon for a refund.

My Home Setup:
Two Antennas Direct DB8’s, Stacked (one on top of the other), mounted outside, 30 feet in the air. I use a preamp and the initial cable run is about 50 feet into the house. I then use a 4 port distribution amp to feed my 2 TV’s and 2 HDHomeRun tuners (Now Tablo). All cabling is shielded RG6. Depending on atmospheric conditions I can pull in 44 channels from 3 different cities (2 USA, 1 Canada). Right now as I write this I’m only pulling in 30 channels due to how hot it is outside (85F). All 30 channels show 5 green dots in the Tablo setup.

My ISP is Time Warner Cable (TWC) - 25Mbps down and 2Mbps up.
Netgear Modem, Netgear Wireless Router and a Netgear Switch.
All network devices are Gigabit capable and all my wiring is Cat6.

  • Tablo = Wired
  • PC’s = Wired
  • Fire TV Box = Wired
  • Fire TV Stick = Wireless (5Ghz)

Lets start with the devices and apps.

  • Fire TV Stick is so slow doing everything makes it is impossible to use.
  • Fire TV Box is much faster but still lags.
  • for PC’s is the fastest of all my apps but has a poor interface.

Now for the Tablo itself.
Easy to hook up, configure and no issues with the USB 3.0 1Tb hard drive, and only 2 out of 30 channels were missing from the guide, but…

  • The guide took about 45 minutes to download 14 days of data (setup said
    this could take up to 2 hours). I know I’m not comparing apples to
    apples here but WMC could accomplish a 14 day guide download in
  • Guide is not color coded (All Apps).
  • Scrolling through channels has to wait for metadata to load and is often several channels behind the currently highlighted one. Very annoying. (All Apps)
  • Channels buffer for 10+ seconds before the picture actually loads (All apps).
  • Going back to the guide stops the channel from playing. Plus you have to wait for buffering again to go back. (All Apps).
  • No way to channel surf or flashback to a previous channel (All apps).
  • No ability to browse guide or features when in fullscreen mode (Web App).
  • Makes fast action shows like sporting events on my high-end tv look like a low quality off brand tv with a slow refresh rate (All Apps).

I know most off these complaints could go in the feature request section but I’m going to give it a couple of more days and see if my experience improves. Plus I want to record some things tonight to see how that goes. No sense in making requests if I’m going just to return it anyways.

All excellent suggestions, these would be great additions to the Tablo software.

I am a big fanboy for Tablo, so I am willing to overlook the “maturing” process that the company is going through. Compared to a year ago, the software is light years ahead of where it was at. I trust that another year will really help to mature the platform. I do miss instantaneous flashback from my cable days, used to be great when watching two football games.

The only advice I might have is to try a wired Roku 3 box. I went this route and I don’t experience any delays in scrolling through the guide (although the 10+ seconds to actually see a picture appear can try your patience).

1 Like

Sorry, one other thought. I might be the only guy that does this, but, I never watch live TV through the Tablo. I use the Tablo guide to see what is on, then switch the TV input back to antenna and enjoy my shows in brilliant full HD. It looks better than when I had Comcast.

Also, with my Tablo and my Roku boxes all hard wired, I record at 1080 resolution, so I have never noticed any degradation in quality when watching a recorded show (vs. a live broadcast over the antenna).

Just my 2 cents . . .


@hellbound You have 2 db8s stacked? Nice. I stacked 2 db4e’s and got amazing results.

Check Out To See What Is on. An advantage is you can create “fake channels” such as BYUTV which is available on smartphones, Roku, and FireTV. You can watch it live, so when you see they have a movi e such ad “1 to 1000” you will know to watch. They h as very some great shows in addition to movies.

This will never be “fixed” - it is an inherent delay in transcoding the video and audio to h.264 video and AAC audio. I don’t mind it but I also usually watch live TV directly on the HDTV using its tuner.

Sounds like a TiVo Roamio OTA DVD with a TiVo Mini is a better fit for you with only 2 HDTVs. Same price as the Tablo when you factor in the Lifetime subscription. Of course you lose playback on all your computers, tablets and phones which is why many like Tablo.

Another advantage of personalizing up a titantv lineup is that, if you have, say, Sling TV and get some of the cable channels, you can add those under your titantv account and have a unified guide that covers OTA as well as the Sling TV channels.

and “somehow” titantv seems to get the updates faster than Tablo when new channels come or a schedule changes, which would let you make manual recordings or watch. They don’t update the schedule for when live sports run over…that’s something we’ll have to live with or schedule manual recording if you know how much over the game went.

I agree totally. I LOVE my Tablo. Once the channel loads, I have not had any buffering issues and I love the fact that I can playback on a Roku, FireTV and Nvidia Shield Tv. I also have a hdhomerun [had it prior to the Tablo] but I no longer use it for recording. I think the future is very bright with updates and maturity


I also love my Tablo. I was already a cord cutter, but was missing DVR and went looking on Amazon. I like that it can play on lots of devices, including FireTV, Android phone, Roku. Also multiple people can be watching different shows at the same time as long as they have a device to watch on. Though I would prefer to watch on something that shows on a TV instead of the small screen of an Android phone. My Tablo seems MUCH improved since I got it, but I’m already running what most are waiting for. I surely hope it gets released this week.

1 Like

Thank to everybody for all the advice. My TV in my living room is a Sanyo (2009) 46" 1080p, the TV in my bedroom is a Dell (2006) 32" 720p, and my theater TV is a Sony (2012) 55" 1080p 3D Smart TV. I’ve always used a guide service to look up upcoming shows for my living room TV. Both my bedroom and theater TV are hooked to desktop HTPC’s and use Windows Media Center (WMC) for their guides. WMC is easy to hack because EPG files just get downloaded to a specific directory. From WMC’s interface you can only specify 1 region and 1 postal code, but it will read multiple EPG’s if there is more than one in the directory. My Sony TV also came with a guide provided by Rovi. It was very lacking though. It never had data for sub or out of my local area channels. Anyways, Rovi and Sony had a dispute over the software programing of the guide and it is now no longer available. The Tablo guide is fine. It just needs some polishing. I was only missing 2 channels from my lineup. I opened a support ticket so I’m going to wait and see how long it takes to get updated. I like the fact that they let you make those kinds of requests. You can’t do that with TiVo or Rovi.

I cut the cord a long time ago. I have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and an OTA antenna. I even had Sling TV for a few months but I found I wasn’t watching the channels they offered that much, their interface was horrible and many of the channels had blackout restrictions.

I did some 720 recording last night and I will try 1080 tonight. I’m going to continue playing around and see if my opinion improves.

If all your devices are hard wired use the 1080p recording quality. There is still video quality loss but minimal.

If your theater has an AVR with 5.1, sorry. Tablo can only do 2.0 (no Dolby Digital Surround Sound).

@Max Yep I have a Sony 7.1 AVR. Hopefully this is on the top of the list to fix.

@hellbound I’ve been waiting for 5.1 for 18 months now. It’s been on the “short term roadmap” , then just the “roadmap”, and lately it’s been a “low priority task”

So yes, they said they are able to do it, but since demand is so low, they have no intentions of doing it anytime in the near future.

I’ve been very vocal about DD5.1 in this thread, and you can see Tablo’s nonchalant response.

There is a long and contentious thread on that topic, but the short answer is that it is on Tablo’s to-do list, but it isn’t a top priority on that list.

Also, just FYI, Pro Logic II decoding does work with Tablo.
Here is what Tablo says about their audio capabilities:

I’ve only had the Tablo for a day and a half now. I only recorded one show in 720 last night but have not tried to play it yet. My Windows 8.1 HTPC is capable of upconverting to 7.1 audio over HDMI. If I set the sound card to 2-channel audio it will just pass through the audio stream to my receiver. My receiver can do the same upconvert. I will set my PC to pass through and my AVR to auto and see what happens.

I think if you set your AVR to auto, you’ll just get stereo. You’ll probably need to select PLII as your audio output on the AVR.

Depends on the AVR. Pretty sure mine is set to auto, and it does DTS (DTS-HD? DTS-MA?) when I play bluray, DD when I watched cable/DVDs, and DPLII on Tablo now.

I think you’re thinking of “Pure” or whatever the term is for a particular AVR manufacturer. Then it’ll only play what it gets. So for Tablo it’d be stereo, but for DD it’d be surround.